3D Printing Ties for FastTracks Trackwork

Looking to have a reliable large N Scale yard without breaking the budget meant hand laying turnouts. The 3D printer did the rest.

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I have experience with assembled turnouts from several manufacturers but was not happy with the appearance, lack of options, reliability, cost, availability, or any combination of these faults. Hand laying track has been around for decades, but I liked the refinement of the Fast Tracks system. I bought the jigs for #8 turnouts, since these would compose the majority of my trackwork. Learning to use the jigs was very easy and I soon had dozens built for my layout. Having bought a 3D printer a few years ago, and knowing there are wood/plastic tie strips available, I figured this would be a cool experiment to make even cheaper turnouts by printing the ties that sit below the trackwork. The printer I am using is a Flashforge Creator Pro with a borosilicate glass bed using ESun PETG for the final prints. With some drafting and trial and error I soon had a working #8 tie strip that modified as my jig selection grows. Below is a photo storyline of the project. Feel free to contact me for help with printer settings, STL files, gluing, and painting advice, as I’m refining my process constantly!n8render.png

Final rendering of the ties required to fit the trackwork, including recesses for the PCB ties

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One of the first ABS prototypes, printed on a raft to verify bed adhesion

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Refining the extrusion rates for dimensionally accurate parts

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Checking the early prototype ties against the trackwork

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Final trackwork and ties ready for assembly

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Final trackwork and ties assembled and ready for paint

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Paint applied, then cleaned from railheads (left)

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A batch of turnouts ready for the layout!

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